The Boy In The Dress (6/11/19)

Review by Callum Wallace.

When I first got my hands on my copy of The Boy In The Dress as a primary school student I would have never imagined the amazing musical it would turn out to be this winter at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.

We open on an “Ordinary” town exactly as described in the book, created though wonderfully designed model houses and uniform grey costumes designed by Paul Atkinson.

From here emerges Dennis (Played tonight by Oliver Crouch) Crouch has an excellent innocent and angelic voice that is perfect for this role. His acting is also superb, which really helped the audience empathise with his longing to be who he wants to be. His onstage chemistry with “Dad” (Rufus Hound) and John (Zachary Loonie) is incredible. Hound is excellent as a lost single father who doesn’t know what to do with his “different” son; provoking a whole range of emotions from the audience.

As the show goes on, we meet the character we all know and love, the owner of everyone’s favourite corner shop… Raj! And he even has his own song which is delivered with wonderful comedic timing

The rest of the cast are equally as incredible as each other. With stand out performances from Miriam Nyarko as Lisa James with an amazing singing voice she should be proud of at such a young age. Forbes Masson is excellent as the villainous headmaster who is hilariously dislikeable; provoking all the young people in the audience with his song “I hate Kids” and then later proving to be the polar opposite in a surprise plot twist only fans of the book will see coming. His acting here is excellent!

Another wonderful performance comes, not from a human character, but from Odd-job the dog! This adorable puppet was operated masterfully by Ben Thompson who is able to create incredibly life-like actions with ease. The other puppetry used in the football matches was extremely clever; I couldn’t see them doing it any other way.

This wonderful show, however can be let down by some disappointing and simple songs at points, while other songs you are guaranteed to be singing as you make your way out of the theatre in your own “Disco Symphony”. Once a few changes are made to the lyrics this show has an almost definite London transfer on the cards.

This feel good, family show is excellent and I would recommend getting you tickets now! It brings with it a wonderful message that we all need be be sending to children right now. Don’t ever apologise for being you.

And for more theatrical entertainment then listen to The Sound Of Musicals every Sunday from 5pm until 6pm.